John Pannell (PANNELLJ@DELPHI.COM)
Mon, 5 Dec 1994 18:13:51 -0500
>> Hello, and MERRY CHRISTMAS :)
>> Actually in the US the common Christmas greeting is Merry
>> Christmas not happy. We sometimes say Happy holidays or Seasons Greetings
>> when we are trying to be PC and include all of the religious holidays.
>Is there some reason not to be Politically Correct, if it means
>that we are trying to be sensitive to the diversity of beliefs of
>those around us?
IMO, there is a difference between basic politeness and political
It is basic courtesy to wish a Jewish person Happy Chanukah and impolite to
wish him a Merry Christmas. It would be discourteous to express either of
those greetings to a Hindu.
IMO, political correctness is politeness taken to an absurd extreme. For
example, the USPS refusing to use the word Christmas on its Christmas stamps
after 1994 (yes, it's true!). For example, churches not placing nativities
on their lawns, lest they offend non-Christians. It is PC-silliness to
abandon the use of "Christmas" lest we offend non-Christians. In spite of
the secular connotations this time of year has taken on, the raison d'etre
for this holiday is religious. Personally, if someone is offended by the
religious symbolisms, they are perfectly free to not celebrate this
In addition, many Jews do not like to see Christmas and Chanukah linked
together as the phrase "Season's Greetings" implies. To them, this
greeting is not much more than saying "Happy New Year". The two holidays are
very different in nature. Also, Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in
the Jewish religion.
Now, how to work this all in with Scouting.... Well, with Cub Scouts many
have talked about planning programs about how Christmas is celebrated in
other lands. Why not expand this to celebrations of other religion's
holidays and secular festivals that occur at this time? Christmas is by
nature a religious holiday, but it is not the only holiday that is
celebrated at this time of year. In an area that enjoys wide ethnic
diversity, this could be quite fun. Here in the South, ethnic diversity
means distinguishing between Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, ... *g*, such
a program may not be easily done or appreciated.
Maybe something similar could be done with Boy Scouts, but I'm not certain
how it could be made appealing to the older boys.
...My brother had his Jewish girlfriend over for Christmas dinner last year.
It was interesting. To her, it was just a fancy dinner with her boyfriend's
This reminds me of the stereotypical American asking an Englishman:
Do you have the Fourth of July in England?
Answer: Yes, it comes after the third of July and before the fifth of July!
We are different and have different customs. So what? Let's not get so
hung up on the fear of offending others that we lose what we have.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City